The Letter Writer

paul letter writerPerhaps an aha-moment for some if not each of us today…

Luke wrote Acts as did he the Book of Luke. But do we know how to identify the books Paul wrote? Following are hints in the opening words of each of his books:

Romans 1:1  Paul, a servant of Christ Jesus, called to be an apostle, set apart for the gospel of God,

1Cor 1:1  Paul, called by the will of God to be an apostle of Christ Jesus, and our brother Sosthenes,

1Cor 1:2  To the church of God that is in Corinth,

2Cor 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God that is at Corinth, with all the saints who are in the whole of Achaia:

2Cor 1:2  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Php 1:1  Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:

Php 1:2  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Gal 1:1  Paul, an apostle—not from men nor through man, but through Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—

Gal 1:2  and all the brothers who are with me, To the churches of Galatia:

Eph 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus:

Eph 1:2  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Php 1:1  Paul and Timothy, servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are at Philippi, with the overseers and deacons:

Php 1:2  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Thes 1:1  Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ: Grace to you and peace.

2Thes 1:1  Paul, Silvanus, and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians in God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ:

2Thes 1:2  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

1Tim 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by command of God our Savior and of Christ Jesus our hope,

1Tim 1:2  To Timothy, my true child in the faith: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

2Tim 1:1  Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God according to the promise of the life that is in Christ Jesus,

2Ti 1:2  To Timothy, my beloved child: Grace, mercy, and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

Titus 1:1  Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, for the sake of the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth, which accords with godliness,

Tit 1:2  in hope of eternal life, which God, who never lies, promised before the ages began

Philemon 1:1  Paul, a prisoner for Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon our beloved fellow worker

Phm 1:2  and Apphia our sister and Archippus our fellow soldier, and the church in your house:

Phm 1:3  Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

cropped-minijim1Dr. jStark

July 2018

Part Two (Introduction to Second Semester – Acts 13-28)

Luke – Part Two (Introduction to Second Semester – Acts 13-28)

Instructor’s Note: Last semester we left off at chapter 12:24. We now pick up where the Apostle Peter is no longer the center of the goings on; the Apostle Paul is primary to Acts 13-28. This term will mention Paul’s missionary trips to the Gentiles, but mostly discuss the issues of those days when Paul made his missionary travels. It isn’t a study to trace his three “missionary” trips establishing new communities of Gentile believers, but more to the historical facts of why and where he went and where he avoided going.

An aside note…Just as the first half of the Book of Daniel is written in Aramaic (Greek) and the second half Hebrew, the Book of Acts is the message in the first half to the Jews and the second half is to the Gentile/Greeks.acts

Acts 12:25-16:5

In this part, Luke describes how the gospel spread through more countries and by who; such as the connection with King Solomon in 945 B.C. and Philip’s encounter with the Ethiopian official almost 1,000 years later. It ends like this: ‘So, the Christians became stronger in their faith and more believers joined together daily.’ The people who joined were believers, not outsiders. This means those in The Way (Christians) in worship and discipleship were not the lost but those who were there to learn something beyond their salvation moment.

Acts 16:6-19:20

We learn from this portion of Acts how the good news about Jesus reached Europe. Paul started a new church in Corinth, a city in Greece. To its name-sake we get 1 & 2 Corinthians. He also started a new church in Ephesus; i.e. the Book of Ephesians. Ephesus was a very important city. It was in the same territory that is Turkey today. It is near Greece but mostly separated by the Aegean Sea. This part ends like this: ‘In this manner, the Lord’s message (to the believers) continued to increase in power and it spread widely.’

Acts 19:21-28:31

In the final part of our Acts study this semester, Luke tells us that Paul reached Rome. When the book ends, Paul is in prison under house arrest. There, ‘he preached boldly about God’s kingdom. He taught the facts about the Lord Jesus Christ and nobody tried to stop him.’ In other words, he brought many to a belief in Christ than sent them to a church of other believers to be disciples (learners) per living a life in Christ; i.e. To Be & To Live (be-liever) growing daily in knowledge and understanding.be a believer

When the book ends, Paul is in Rome. The Romans had arrested him. Luke does not say what happened to Paul next but he remained with him. So, many scholars conclude that Luke completed Acts very soon after this. Also, he said nothing about Emperor Nero. He killed many Christians in AD 64. Luke had likely finished the book in AD 62. We do not know the exact date. It only makes sense if Luke had not already written Acts, he would have included Paul’s execution under the sword of Nero; the firebug of Rome.rome fire

Nero Biography

Nero was the last Roman emperor of the Julio-Claudian dynasty. He was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius and became Claudius’ heir and successor. Like Claudius, Nero became emperor with the consent of the Praetorian Guard. Nero’s mother, Agrippina the Younger, was likely implicated in Claudius’ death and Nero’s nomination as emperor. She dominated Nero’s early life and decisions until he cast her off. Five years into his reign, he had her murdered. He reigned from 54 A.D. to 68 A.D.

JIV NOTE: As a disciple; i.e. bible student, know that names mentioned in the bible are for reasons far beyond the knowledge of their names. The same is true of places and things. These persons, places and things help archeologists, historians, and even militaries trace diggings, research, and tactics. In a very real sense it is like the Hansel and Gretel “story.” These persons, places and things have markers that can be traced back to their origins. Praise God!

AHA MOMENT: The Rest of the Bible Facts not found in the bible; Job, Issachar, and Zebulon

After the Assyrian dispersion of the ten Northern Tribes of Israel around 720 B.C., tribes migrated north, west and east; Kazar/Kazak Empire. To the distant northeast we find a tribe even older than the Israeli Tribes; one that claims to descend from Job. Today they are called the Abii or Lob (Job) tribes…in *Siberia.

*NOTE: From where do most historians claim the American Indian migrated when crossing the land-bridge between Alaska and Russia? ANS: Siberia, so that implicates the American Indian.

Extra Bonus AHA MOMENT: Shortly after the Northern Tribes of Israel were dispersed by Assyrians a people by the names Asakarta or Sagartii (Issachar) appeared in the Zagros Mountains between Iran and Iraq. British geographers discovered in a territory close by the name, of a clan of people who called their land Zabulistan (Zebulon?).

So much more but this is for an advanced study at a later date. The Bible is not a manuscript for a religion. It is traceable historical facts.

“The bulk of the Finns and Estonians are Israelite, but the Karelians are Japhetic but live within the lands of Israeli in Scandinavia. The Karelians live in an eastern province of Finland. They descended from Japheth (son of Noah)”

Descendants of Issachar settled in western Finland and Estonia (Sources: Eino Juttikala and Kauko Pirinen, A History of Finland, 1974. p.13; W.R Mead, Finland, 1968, p. 56)

 

Dr. jStarkRev. Dr. Jstark
May, 2018

Acts 2

Acts 2 – Have we defaulted to a so-called modern day view of baptism(s)?

There is much debate per baptisms; water be it sprinkle or submersion, Holy Spirit (with evidence of tongues, ect.

  1. Water Baptism Matthew 3:5-6
  2. Baptism of Jesus Matthew 3:13-17
  3. Baptism of Fire Matthew 3:11
  4. Baptism of suffering Matthew 20:22
  5. Baptism with the Holy Spirit Acts 1:4-5
  6. Baptism of Moses (O.T.) I Corinthians 10:2
  7. Baptism in water commanded of all nations; the only one that is a stated COMMAND!
    1. *Matthew 28:19
      1. Interesting side note: If the tomb guards were sleeping, as recorded, then how would they know who it was that rolled the huge stone away and stole the body of Jesus? Sleeping?
    2. Acts 1:8; 8:36-38

A fascinating scripture per baptism(s) is found in Acts 19. The Apostle Paul is traveling by land to and comes through, Ephesus. There are disciples (*new believers/learners) there: And he said to them, ‘Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?’ And they said, ‘No, we have not even heard that there is a Holy Spirit’” (ESV). The obvious question that few theologians wish to tackle is could they be saved without the “receiving the Holy Spirit?”

JIV NOTE: At this point theological preferences or prejudices will rule the day. What is said from this point on will be taken as either heresy or actuality. To seminarians it is a matter of which “Doctrine of Faith s/he signed at seminary.” I heard of one minister who stated: “if it is in the bible then it is functional or okay to be practiced today.” HMMMM? Under the Law not grace? Sacrifice alters? Stoning of a disobedient son? Even child sacrifices are discussed in the bible. Do these mean each should still be practiced today? Where is “let us reason together” (Isaiah 1:18) come into play? The Old Testament only ends at the cross and all things are made new. If it is in the bible it is simply a discussion point from the bible! Such a statement can only be excused as ignorance or self-serving.

In Ephesians 4:3-6 Paul specifically states that there is but ONE BAPTISM. We need to keep this in context to understand it. Beginning with verse 3: (ESV)

Eph 4:3  …eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.
Eph 4:4  There is one body and one Spirit—just as you were called to the one hope that belongs to your call—
Eph 4:5  one Lord, one faith, one baptism,
Eph 4:6  one God and Father of all, who is over all and through all and in all.

So which baptism is the ONE BAPTISM… the baptism in water or the baptism of the Holy Spirit? Let’s look at I Peter 3:21; Colossians 2:9-14; Galatians 3:26-27 (God’s DNA?).

One Baptism?

The word baptize always means “to submerge or immerse.” So, when baptism is discussed, it involves a person being totally submerged into something else. Baptism implies being “all in.” (GotQuestions.org)

One commentator states: “there are two types of (one?)baptism: a physical (water)

baptism and a spiritual baptism. One is literal, done in water; the other is figurative, accomplished in the Spirit.” This however seems to skirt the “one baptism” as stated in Ephesian 4:5.

There are three basic opinions among theologians regarding the baptism of the Holy Spirit.

  1. The Holy Spirit baptism is to be baptized into Christ. That happens at the time of one’s initial prayer of belief and salvation.
  2. The Holy Spirit baptism occurs after salvation when one is filled with or immersed in the worship of God. This can be immediate or sometime later when one becomes an acting Be-Liver (believer); immersed in worship with his or her whole heart, mind and soul.
  3. The baptism of the Spirit is evidenced by signs (such as speaking in tongues), and others believe that such signs are unnecessary.

Let’s consider a 4th option. Might the speaking in tongues be, as stated in scripture, the connection of the Holy Spirit with our prayer life and worship of our Father in heaven; i.e. a prayer and praise that we did not have prior to our salvation prayer; a worship language (speaking) we cannot express in our human language?

We do know that immediately following Pentecost the disciples spoke and the many foreign visitors to Jerusalem heard their message in their own language. This is simple…they “heard” the gospel message in their own language!

However, there is another possibility. It is the word “evidenced.” What does evidenced as stated in Acts 2:28 And Peter said unto them, Repent ye, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ unto the remission of your sins; and ye shall receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.

So, what is the Gift of the Holy Spirit? Tongues of witness and preaching; i.e. testimonies, prophesying, wisdom, knowledge; i.e. the ability to begin understanding scripture, respect of God…gifta

 

We could discuss this subject for a long time and still not bring understanding to all. Let the above be information for each to digest. We Teach – You Decide. Note the word or gift “fortitude.” This means one now has the courage to stand up for Jesus as a testimony from his or her own lips. Some will understand the intended message. Others will not.

Let’s look at one other scripture using the Greek words in the scripture itself. Acts 19:6 says… “And when Paul had laid hands upon them, the Holy Ghost (KJV) came on them; and they spake (laleō) with tongues (glōssa) and prophesied.”

Laleo means to utter, speak out, use the tongue to articulate a sound…

Glossa means a language enunciated by the tongue, an organ of speech…

Basically it means to speak out using the tongue to pronounce words. Words of what? If not a known language then probably a testimony of one’s new life in Christ with boldness; something that only some will understand; evidence of one’s new life in Christ.

We Teach – You Decide

Acts 2 “You shall be baptized with the Holy Spirit”: The idea of being baptized is to be immersed or covered over in something; even as John baptized people in water, so these disciples would 10 days later be “immersed” in the Holy Spirit.

JIV: The baptism of the Holy Spirit is more of a condition of living than it is an experience. Our “experience” comes from re-conditioned living.

This was a time of Pentecost in Jerusalem. Men (those of Judaism) from many other lands who had long forgotten the Hebrew language were in town; see verse 9 – 11. Most spoke the Aramaic as it was the common language used in business. Pentecost is only one of three different names; all are Jewish festivals:

  1. Feast of Harvest
  2. Feast of Weeks
  3. Feast of Pentecost

Why didn’t the Holy Spirit baptism happened immediately instead of waiting ten days for it “came upon those who witnessed the ascension of Jesus on the Mount of Olives?”

JIV: It is a test of time and the genuineness of one’s faith and belief. Many who claim salvation are “here today; gone tomorrow. “ That is called RELIGION. Their waiting ten days was a test of genuineness. Sometimes a new believer must wait to become a true Be – Liver of their salvation and growth in Christ.

James 4:3 “We ask forgiveness with the wrong motives.” Similar to Fake News, one gets Fake repentance. Once the crisis is over, many return to their old ways. There was a confession but not a baptism of or indwelling of the Holy Spirit. Gain: Fake Commitment.

Yes there is one baptism and that is the indwelling and fulfillment of the Holy Spirit in one’s life. Water baptism is symbolic of one’s baptism and commitment to God through Jesus Christ by now living a life guided by the Holy Spirit

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